Nothing says I love you in our house, quite like a home cooked meal with lots of bacon! We don't do flowers and candy on Valentines Day, we do food and tack! Lucky for me, the March editions of my Food Network Magazine (thanks to my sister!) is dedicated to this glorious meat! They have everything from bacon trivia, gag gifts, and even tips on how to cook bacon. They even had a fabulous recipe for Bacon-Pineapple- Upside-Down Cake, which I blew up my news feed on Facebook, instagram, and twitter with!
Valentines Day falls on a Friday this year, so besides being a busy night to try and go out to dinner in town anyway, it will be nearly impossible to get in somewhere good to eat. Throw 2 wild little boys into the mix, and you guessed it, it's much easier to just stay home. So, like every other Friday night, I will be cooking dinner. The only difference is that I am planning ahead this time. Most nights I look at the clock and think Shoot! It's 4:00! What am I going to make for dinner?!
The best part of my menu is that most of it can be made ahead, so I won't have to spend all day Friday in the kitchen.
Bacon Stuffed Potatoes
Bacon Wrapped Blackberry Pork Roast
Haricorts Verts with Pancetta
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Red Velvet Cake
Bacon Stuffed Potatoes (Food Network Magazine, March 2014 edition)
Toss 1 pound baby potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 450* 20 minutes. Let cool. Halve and scoop out flesh. Mash flesh with 2 tbsp. each butter and sour cream, add 3 slices cooked bacon crumpled. Stuff into potatoes and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake 5 more minutes.
Bacon-Wrapped Blackberry Pork Roast (Food Network Magazine, March 2014 edition)
1/4 c. blackberry preserves (I'm going to substitute raspberry because that is what I have)
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt and pepper
1 4-5 lb. boneless center-cut pork loin, trimmed
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 red onions, quartered
8 slices bacon
2 tbsp. Wondra
3 c. chicken broth
1. Combine first 5 ingredients (only 1 tbsp. vinegar) in a bowl. Poke the pork in a few spots with a paring knife, then rub with the garlic. Rub the pork all over with preserves mixture, transfer to a large resealable bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
2. About 20 minutes before roasting, remove the pork from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325*. Put the red onions in a metal roasting pan and set a rack on top. Wrap the pork with the bacon, then set on the rack. Roast until the bacon is crisp and a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 145*, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest 10 minutes. (I know you are thinking pork should be cooked longer because it should be an internal temperature of 160*, but the pork will continue cooking after removed from the oven)!
3. Meanwhile, make the gravy: Discard all but 2 tbsp. of the drippings from the pan. (Place onions in a serving dish). Place the roasting pan over 2 burners over med-low heat ans whisk in the flour until incorporated. Add the chicken broth and whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
4. Slice the pork and serve with onions and gravy.
Haricots Verts with Pancetta (Food Network Magazine, March 2014 edition)
1 3/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 oz. pancetta , diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender. Drain, then plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain again, then transfer to paper towels and pat dry.
2. Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Add the garlic to the drippings and cook till golden. Add the bread crumbs and cook, until toasted.
3. Add the green beans to the skillet and cook until evenly coated. Stir in pancetta and season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy, Happy Valentines Day!